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HAMMOND, La. -- The body of a Northshore soldier killed in action in Afghanistan was returned to Louisiana, his home, Tuesday.

Family members were on hand when the body of Spc. Chris Drake, a 20-year-old Tickfaw native and National Guard specialist, arrived at the Hammond Regional Airport.

Dozens of people lined the road to pay their respects as Drake's funeral procession passed along Highway 190 from the airport to the M.J.R. Funeral Home in Denham Springs. Drake's body will be at the funeral home until Monday when the funeral service will be held at the Eagle Heights Church in Tickfaw.

Drake's mother said she wasn't angry, but said she felt blessed for the time that she had with her son. She stressed her pride in Chris and called him a hero.

Drake died last Sunday, only a month and a half after he arrived for duty, in Afghanistan. He was a gunner on a vehicle that was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.

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